The future of cricket tours by teams to the subcontinent became bleaker Tuesday after Bangladeshi authorities said they were postponing Pakistan's tour because they could not ensure players' safety.
Pakistan was due to tour Bangladesh earlier this month but the dates were put on hold two days after gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in which seven players and an assistant coach were injured two weeks ago.
Bangladesh sports minister Ahad Ali Sarker told AFP that officials in his country had decided to postpone the tour because of concerns over player safety.
‘We have had to suspend the tour for the time being because of security concerns,’ he said, citing last month's mutiny at a military base in the Bangladeshi capital as the main reason for the postponement.
‘Our law enforcement agencies are at the moment hunting rebels wanted for last month's mutiny in Dhaka so it's not possible for us to give fool-proof security to the Pakistani cricket team.’ He said tours by all foreign teams in all sports codes to Bangladesh had been suspended until further notice.
The Pakistan team were originally scheduled to play two Twenty20 matches and five one-day internationals from March 10-22. Bangladesh said on March 5 it was revising the tour's itinerary.
‘Obviously the Pakistan cricket tour will take place as soon as we can ensure full security to the team,’ the minister added.
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) spokesman Rabeed Imam told AFP that both countries were hopeful a new itinerary could be worked out.
‘The tour has been postponed again. It's not cancelled and the Bangladesh Cricket Board is trying to work out a new schedule with the Pakistani cricket authorities.’ Another BCB spokesman Jalal Yunus told AFP that a November series was possible.
‘We hope that after consultation with the Pakistan cricket officials we can find a time slot, maybe in November this year, for the series to come about.’